Ericsson and United Nation's Development Programme (UNDP)'s Growing Sustainable Business (GSB) initiative are today, in connection to the World Summit on the Information Society, announcing a partnership in the effort to reach the vision of Communication for All and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The United Nations is spearheading initiatives to help eradicate poverty in underdeveloped regions of the world. Through its MDGs, the international community has pledged to halve extreme poverty by 2015 and instigate a global partnership for development. Yet, without more active participation of the private sector, the MDGs stand little chance of meeting the 2015 timeline. UNDP's GSB programme enables companies to participate in meeting the MDGs through its facilitation of commercially viable business ventures that reduce poverty.


The Information and Communication Technology sector, and in particular telecom, has an enormous role to play in reaching the MDGs.


Ericsson in cooperation with UNDP and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has launched a new business model, which is optimized for providing mobile coverage to rural users. As part of developing the model, a feasibility study was conducted which included analysis of the socio-economic impact of access to communications in Tanzania, as a first country. The study supports the premise that the mobile phone will be one of the technologies with the greatest impact on economic development.


"We are very pleased to announce that UNDP's GSB programme is partnering with Ericsson in taking the efforts forward", says Mr. Bruce Jenks, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director, UNDP. "The best way to impact poverty is to stimulate the local economy. This partnership is unique because it is one of the first cases where we see a solution to poverty that is founded in market-based incentives and new business models to reach the poor. In this case we are, together with Ericsson, promoting access to telecommunications, which has proven to support sustainable development. UNDP's role has been to facilitate the business development process and ensure trust and buy-in from local stakeholders," Mr. Jenks concludes. 


The number of mobile subscribers in the world has reached 2 billion, and in five years from now, the prediction is 3 billion, which means that every other person on the globe will have a mobile phone. However, the vast majority of new subscribers will be in emerging markets, and each subscriber will have typically lower purchasing power than today's subscribers. New business models are developed to address this segment, which specifically address those market's requirements in terms of regulation, lack of infrastructure and technical competence development, reduced total cost of ownership for the operators, and local applications that are suitable to the specific market. 


"Ericsson's vision is an all-communicating world", says Bert Nordberg, Executive Vice President of Ericsson. "Mobile coverage must be extended both geographically and demographically to include segments of the populations previously not covered. We are very pleased to partner with the UNDP on this initiative, and the support from the GSB has been essential", Mr. Nordberg concludes.


Ericsson is shaping the future of Mobile and Broadband Internet communications through its continuous technology leadership. Providing innovative solutions in more than 140 countries, Ericsson is helping to create the most powerful communication companies in the world.
 
 
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About UNDP
UNDP is the UN's global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners.
 
For more information on UNDP's Growing Sustainable Business programme, visit: www.undp.org/business/gsb